In 2021 a series of videos were released on Tik Tok of Tom Cruise that went viral. He flashed his classic smile, walked around and talked with the camera that was recording him. Everything looked like him and sounded like him, but the things he was saying didn’t seem like things he would say. Even though that part felt off, people shared the videos with others believing it was him saying and doing those things. The image, the walk and the voice were all computer generated by artificial intelligence showing how technology can recreate anyone saying and doing things that your brain will believe. It’s called Deep Fake technology and can fool just about anyone. The people it didn’t fool were those who knew Tom Cruise wouldn’t say those things.
In the book of Nehemiah we read about the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem. The Jews were happy to get their security back, but people in the area were against the project. They did whatever they could to thwart the completion of the wall and intimidate the Jews. In chapter 6, one of the prominent workers was visited by Nehemiah in his home. He told Nehemiah that there was a plot to kill him that night and that he should hide out in the Temple. Nehemiah almost fell for it, but he realized that God had not spoken to this man. Nehemiah wasn’t a priest and it would have been a sin for him to go where they were sending him. He would have been tricked and discredited as a leader had he not known what the Law said. Shortly after refusing to go, the wall was finished.
2 Timothy was Paul’s last letter written in the Bible. In chapter 3, he was warning Timothy and us about deception in the last days. He said that evil people will deceive many. Then in verse 14 he said, “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you” (NLT). We must know and trust what we have been taught from the Bible. Today’s world is trying to deceive us into thinking that God’s Word is incorrect, out of date or that it means something other than what we’ve been taught. We must remain faithful to what we have been taught though. Unless we know the truth of God’s Word and hide it in our heart, we will fall for the deceptions that will try to cause us to sin. God’s Word doesn’t change. We must stand on it, believe it and be unmovable no matter how convincing others may be.
When I was in my teens, I was introduced to what it meant to live by a code. I was taught that it was important to have a set of guiding principles by which to live your life. I didn’t know then how much they would shape my life and help me through making decisions. All these years later I still have the code memorized and think of the characteristics often. They are still the words I live by because they are so fundamental. These words apply to my mental, physical and spiritual life. They are: alert, clean, honest, courageous, loyal, courteous, obedient and spiritual. Each has its own saying that defines it and how I should live.
When the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt, they didn’t have a code to live by. After living in Egypt and slavery for so long, their guiding principles were what the Egyptians told them to do. So the first place God led them to was Mount Sinai to meet with them and to give them some principles to live by. Today, we call them the Ten Commandments. You can find them in Exodus 20. These commandments were a set of rules to live by to ensure that people did the right thing by God, themselves and others if only they would follow them. He further defined the Law through Leviticus, but these were the core ones to guide their lives.
Today, we have the entire Bible to show us how to live. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (NLT). The word “hidden” means to store up and treasure as your most valuable possession to the point that it governs your life. God’s Word is not just a mere set of morally good ideas and principles that we should just read. It’s inspired by God and is to be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). It is what we need to treasure above all other things in our heart because of the eternal impacts it has on us. When we value it and place it in a position in our life to govern our decisions, we will live the way God called us to. It is our Code for living.